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Family Iberian Adventure (Lite Version) tour
Adventure Adventure & Adrenaline Family Iberian Adventure (Lite Version) package

Family Iberian Adventure (Lite Version)

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: N/A
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: Check price
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Overview

Highlights

  • Castaño Del Robledo - Stay in a converted traditional village house in the untouched Sierra de Aracena.
  • Aracena National Park - Mountain biking along rural Andalucian tracks through lovely countryside with superb lake views.
  • Guadiana River - Kayaking through picturesque and peaceful surroundings.
  • Mertola - One of the most stunning and historical towns in the region.
  • Alcoutim - Travel back in time with the option to Zip wire from Spain into Portugal (one hour time difference between the two countries)
  • Explore huge underground caverns and subterranean lakes

Short Description

Based in an undiscovered corner of Western Europe, bathed under sunny skies, this great value multi activity week includes mountain biking, kayaking and walking in a traditional and untouched area of Andalucía and Southern Portugal. Discover a landscape of forested hills, mountain villages and shimmering lakes. Spend three nights in a lovingly converted village house, cycle amongst pristine forests and lakes and kayak and cruise along the scenic Guadiana River to the small resort town of Alcoutim. This Explore Family holiday 'lite' option has been designed to offer you maximum flexibility; a great value price with many activities included but also the option to pick and choose additional activities you want to try. If half the family want to head out of a four wheel drive excursion into the interior whilst the other half want to take it easy, relaxing overlooking the Guadiana River - no problem, everyone can be accommodated! A full breakdown of the costs of each of the activities suggested on this trip are detailed in the downloadable trip notes - optional excursions section. Please note all activities are paid locally and are in addition to the basic holiday price on this Explore 'lite' family holiday.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Array
Itinerary Focus N/A
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Alcoutim

Travel Theme

High Adventure

Destinations

Spain Portugal

Cities & Attractions

N/A

Age Requirement

11

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 - Join tour Seville Airport, drive to our base at the Castaño del Robledo.

Description

Arrive at Seville airport, drive 110km (1.5 hours) deep into rural Andalucia to a beautifully converted guesthouse in the heart of the Sierra Aracena Natural Park. Set amidst rural landscapes of cork and chestnut groves, Castaño del Robledo is the highest village in the park. Depending on the arrival time of the flight from London, there may be time for a short wander around the village and the chance to sample some of the great local food.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Explore untouched Andalucía at its best, walking along ancient cobbled pathways to Alajar.

Description

After breakfast head out along a trail to the picturesque 'pueblo blanco' (white village) of Alájar. The trail initially climbs through chestnut groves on an ancient cobbled pathway overhung by huge cork trees. After crossing a low pass, the walking becomes easier as we begin our long descent to Alájar. The views looking southwards over the hills are magnificent, it's possible to pick out the famous, historic mines of Rio Tinto in the far distance.

Set in a deep valley, Alájar village is famed for the imposing 17th century shrine of Arias Montano which occupies a rocky outcrop high above the village. The shrine is the focal point of an annual pilgrimage each September, which attracts thousands of people, many on horseback or in colourfully decorated horse drawn carts, who head to Alájar from all the surrounding villages to spend the day eating, drinking, singing and dancing.

It's possible to have lunch in one of several bars in the village or alternatively picnic in the surrounding countryside. In July and August we'll return to Castaño by taxi from where we can spend the afternoon by the pool or relax on the terrace of the Posada. Alternatively, there is the option of a horse-ride from the nearby village of Galaroza. Outside of the summer months we plan to return to Castaño on foot via the tiny hamlet of El Calabacino - a stiff but rewarding climb on yet another breath-taking route. Even if returning on foot there is time to go horse riding this afternoon, experience is needed to take part in this activity.

Today's hike covers a distance of 10 kilometres in approximately 5 hours, except in July and August when we return to Castaño by taxi and cover 5 kilometres in approximately 2 hours.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 3 - Mountain biking to one of Sierra's great lakes. Afternoon visit to the charming town of Aracena.

Description

After breakfast drive 15 km to Aracena where we pick up our mountain bikes and, after a safety briefing, set off on a 12½ km ride through pretty countryside down to the shores of one of the Sierra's great lakes. The first eight kilometres descends using an unpaved road through the long, scenic Valley of the "Fuente del Rey". Pass small orchards of Almond, Cherry, Olive and Pomegranate. Further along the trail the landscape becomes wilder with steep wooded hillsides of Pine, Holm Oak and Poplar. Finally we emerge onto the quiet patchy asphalt road that continues another four kilometres along the lakeshore to a picnic area at the head of the lake. We are accompanied throughout by a support vehicle so there is plenty of room to bring lunch, bathing costumes and cold drinks. There's even the opportunity for a limited number of participants to ride in the support vehicle if some feel they no longer wish to cycle. After lunch there is time to take a swim in the lake and then take taxis for the 10km drive to Aracena, returning by a different route.

The largest town in the region, Aracena is overlooked by an impressive 13th century Knights Templar church and ruined castle with fine views across the surrounding countryside. The town is most famous for the stunning 'Cave of the Wonders', an extensive collection of huge underground caverns, subterranean lakes and many chambers that are exquisitely adorned with all manner of stalagmites and stalactites. It's one of the largest cave systems in Spain with 12 caverns, 6 underground lakes and galleries with a combined length of over 2 km. Our time here is free to do as you wish and there will be an opportunity to visit the caves (optional), or perhaps enjoying some of the other delights the town has on offer, such as a visit to the castle, or time just to relax and soak up the atmosphere from the street cafes that line the "Gran Via" and the town's pleasant plaza. We return to Castaño del Robledo by charter bus where we can have dinner in one of the village's two restaurants.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 4 - Drive to Mértola in Portugal. Afternoon kayaking on the Guadiana River.

Description

Bidding farewell to Spain, a scenic descent from the sierra brings us to Portugal and the stunning town of Mértola above the confluence of the Oeiras and Guadiana Rivers. Our journey takes us via Serpa, a classic walled town of narrow streets and picturesque houses, blanketed in colourful swathes of bougainvillea. Dominated by the remains of its castle, Serpa provides us with a welcome respite along the way and we will spend a little time exploring the delights of its tranquil streets and castle ramparts before continuing our journey. Look out for White Storks along the route. From January to July virtually all of the posts that carry the electricity cables lining our route have been turned into convenient nesting spots by these ungainly looking birds.

After time to have lunch and settle into the hotel in Mertola we take to the waters of the Guadiana River in kayaks. First we drive 18km by road (½ hour) to the ruined stone watermills of Canais at a point on the river some seven kilometres upstream from Mertola in the heart of the Vale do Guadiana Natural Park. The river here is 60 to 80m wide and the journey downstream takes approximately 2 ½ hours through an undulating landscape unspoiled by roads or habitation. Using double seater, fibreglass kayaks this excursion is suitable for all levels and full safety equipment and instruction will be given, however it is essential that any participants are able to swim at least 25m unaided.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 5 - Spend time exploring Mértola, morning guided riverside walk. Optional 4WD

Description

After breakfast there will be a short orientation walk of the town, highlighting the centres of its Roman, Christian and Islamic occupations, as well as the 13th century castle that dominates the town. Follow its history via a series of exhibitions that each traces the various aspects of the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. Crossing the old bridge to the south of the town we take an eight kilometre riverside walk downstream from Mertola returning over some low hills to town. Looking back upstream we get some of the best views of Mertola's old walled town spread out around its impregnable castle.

The rest of the day has been left free to explore Mértola, with the possibility of a half day optional 4x4 excursion into the outlying districts, taking in some of the surrounding villages, the bizarre, multi-coloured rock landscapes surrounding the old copper mines of Sao Domingos, the spectacular waterfalls of Pulo de Lobo and a lovely lakeside beach where you can relax and enjoy the serene setting of a shaded reservoir.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 6 - Boat trip to Alcoutim, with an orientation walk on arrival, optional kayaking

Description

At the town quay just 200m from our hotel we take our own specially charted riverboat for the exciting trip down the Guadiana River to Alcoutim. Our departure time depends on tidal conditions and we break the 3 hour trip with a stop at the tiny 19th century port of Pomerao and also some time at anchor, mid river, to enjoy a refreshing dip in the Guadiana which, for the remainder of its course, forms the border between Spain and Portugal.

At 760km the Guadiana is one of the Iberian peninsula's longest rivers. Throughout history periodic floods have devastated communities along its length attested to by various plaques in towns such as Mertola which record the remarkable high water points of days gone by. Yet for over 10 years the river's flow has been largely controlled by the completion of the huge Alqueva dam 120km to the north.

In Alcoutim we disembark at the hotel wharf and check into our rooms at the Hotel D'Alcoutim, where our luggage awaits us. After lunch we take a short orientation walk around the town. With around 900 inhabitants Alcoutim is a quaint backwater which offers a number of interesting sights and activities all within easy walking distance. Dominated by its 14th century fortress the town is laid out around the confluence of the Ribeira de Cadavais with the main Guadiana river. The former's small but excellent white sand beach is the town's main tourist attraction offering a cooling swim together with refreshments from a rustic bar/café. Although the beach is only 650m walk from the hotel a popular excursion is to hire kayaks at the hotel and paddle there via the Guadiana and its tributary, perhaps sighting a terrapin or two along the way. From a quayside café on the main river you can watch the skiffs and sailing yachts against the backdrop of Alcoutim's twin village of Sanlúcar a mere 100m away on the Spanish side of the river.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 7 - Free day for optional activities including biking, kayaking, zip wire, tennis or sightseeing.

Description

We cross by shuttle boat to Sanlúcar in Spain to commence a delightful 5½ km walking trail that hugs the river south of the town. There are bathing opportunities in a tributary river where the trail ends and from there we take taxis for the two kilometres by road back to town. In Sanlúcar you´ll have time to explore the village, climb to the Spanish castle of San Marcos, relax on the Spanish fluvial beach or participate in one of the most exciting optional activities in Portugal. The 720m long international aerial runway operates from a jump platform high on a hill above Sanlúcar. Travelling at speeds of up to 75 km/hr you'll whizz across the river between the two countries in just over a minute and dismount from a platform just 300m from our hotel. It is the only international aerial runway in the world and also the only one that travels back in time! (The Portuguese time zone is one hour earlier). NB. This activity is available only for persons of 14 years or older. After lunch we return to Portugal where the remainder of the day is free to hire mountain bikes, kayaks, relax on the beach or, for the more energetic, play volley ball or tennis or climb to the ruins of the 10th century Moorish fortress less than 1km north of the hotel.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 8 - Trip ends in Alcoutim.

Description

The trip ends this morning after breakfast. For those flying back to the UK, driver 95km (1.5 hours) to Faro Airport

Included Meals : Breakfast

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30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Family Iberian Adventure (Lite Version)

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Wonderful

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was grateful to Explore with my booking as I was forced to cancel at a late date and then was enabled to rebook which meant the difference between having no summer holiday and a wonderful one. All of the administration seemed to be very efficient, friendly and professional.
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Wonderful holiday memories

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have travelled all over the world with explore on their family adventure holidays. We have an only child and she benefited so much with instant friendships, and has some wonderful holiday memories. Explore has always been very helpful with the booking process, and we have found most of the tour leaders they use to be professional, committed, really good at their jobs.
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Extremely enjoyable

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have travelled with Explore on several occasions. Each experience has been positive and every trip extremely enjoyable. The itinerary’s are excellent ensuring a full and varied experience and the use of local guides is hugely beneficial.
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It's fantastic trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It's fantastic trip for me..just not very happy for accommodation. And the trip leader .If he can make more time with us.and make more interesting and funny when he was talking. It is should be good..other way he is good..
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wonderful

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Danijela, our tour guide, was wonderful. She shared plenty of facts about Croatia with us and managed all the arrangements really well. One of our group had a birthday while we were away and Danijela gave her a present and we celebrated. Transfers to and from the airport went well. Prior to going, the staff on the phones were really helpful with any questions.
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Great experiences

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was our third family adventure with Explore, all have been great experiences. Kids bond immediately and adults can melt into the background and relax. The size of the groups makes mixing manageable and the guides and crews have been first rate throughout.
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Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

Please note that whilst many activities are included on this trip, some additional activities are booked and paid for locally and are in addition to the basic holiday price on this Explore 'lite' family holiday. Prices quoted below are based on 2017 rates, 2018 prices will be updated as soon as they become available. Day 2: CastaNo del Robledo - Public pool €2 pp (Only open July and August, closed on Mondays) Day 2: Castaño del Robledo - Horseriding €20 pp for 1 hour, €30 pp for 2 hours. The stables are located in Galaroza, 10km away. Prices exclude transport to/from the stables, the price of which will depend on numbers. Day 3: Aracena - Visit to the Caves on day 3 €8.50 (€6 for under 12's) 50 minute tour, walking around 1.2 kms with 100 steps to climb. Day 5: Mertola - Museum multi entrance ticket €5 Day 5: Mertola - 4x4 excursion on day 5 €35 pp a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 participants. The jeep safari lasts around 4 hours. Day 5: Mertola - Abseiling on day 5 fixed price of €250 for a minimum of 8 participants. Days 6 & 7: Alcoutim - Mountain Bike Hire €10 per bike per day (helmet hire available at €5) Days 6 & 7: Alcoutim - Kayak hire €6 for 1 hour, €10 for half a day Days 6 & 7: Alcoutim - Museum multi entrance ticket €2.50 Days 6 & 7: Alcoutim - International Zipwire €18 pp, minimum age of 14 and maximum weight of 110kg applies. Starts on the Spanish side. Along the 720 metres joining the two countries users cross over the river at speeds between 70 and 80 kilometres per hour, literally flying through time and gaining one hour

Accomodations

Accommodation Notes

Located on a narrow cobbled street in the mountain village of Castano del Robledo, Posada del Castano was originally a large traditional Andalucian village house. Lovingly converted into a simple guesthouse the building retains many of its original features including rustic terracotta floor tiles and chestnut roof beams. The house remains cool in summer and cosy in winter thanks to the thick outer walls, whilst the terrace and courtyard serve as perfect outdoor space to enjoy the sunshine. Facilities include an upstairs small lounge complete with comfortable seating, books and games, and a balcony offering views of the red-tiled roof tops of the village set against the lush green hills beyond. A continental breakfast is served in the largest room of the house, with large antique wooden doors opening out onto a covered terrace overlooking the courtyard below and garden beyond. The courtyard features a shaded cushioned bench and a table, whilst the garden has a lawn bordered with flowers amongst the cherry, plum and persimmon trees. The guesthouse offers eight rooms, of which seven have en-suite bathrooms. Rooms are accessed either through the courtyard, the terrace or the upstairs lounge and all have their own unique character. All feature wooden furniture, terracotta tiled floors and roof beams in line with the rest of the house.

Guides

An Explore Leader is an integral part of any Explore trip and your trip will be led by one of our experienced Explore Leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. We believe that our Explore Leaders are the key to the success of our trips; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your Explore Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this trip fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.

Tour Staff

Explore Tour Leader, Explore Tour Leader

Age Notes

Min. Age: 11

Trip ID#:

explore-FLA

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